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NFL planning to allow social justice decals on helmets

Helmets will bear names of victims of systemic racism, police violence

Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) knocks the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels on the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) knocks the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels on the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence.

The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The initiative will be done leaguewide, with each team deciding who it will honor and how to display the names or initials.

Unlike the NBA, which is allowing players to wear slogans on their jerseys, the NFL will stick to names and initials once a final agreement has been reached with the players' association. The program will continue for the entire season.

This initiative is something of a breakthrough because the league has not allowed such messaging, except for during its October NFL Crucial Catch program in conjunction with the fight against breast cancer, and in its November salutes to the military. Players also have been allowed to represent a cause on their cleats one weekend per season.

But a 17-week campaign such as the one being planned is something new for the NFL.

A list of names and initials for use on the helmet decals is being put together by the league and the NFLPA. Players have been encouraged to provide those names and initials.

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